Bridget Berry, a 1994 elementary education graduate of McNeese State University, is a 2021-2022 Louisiana Department of Education Public Interest Fellow. Berry is a fifth grade teacher at STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee.
The fellowship, inaugurated in 2018, allows recipients to spend the upcoming school year advocating for a key education initiative of their choosing. Recipients are selected from the previous year’s list of Louisiana Teacher of the Year Finalists.
“As a 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year finalist, I submitted a proposal that will foster mentorship between first year teachers and seasoned educators across Pointe Coupee Parish Schools,” says Berry.
Berry’s project will connect parish educators via Zoom, a useful tool for sharing ideas and best practices for classroom management and providing encouragement for first year teachers.
“Teaching is truly a profession where you learn from others and adapt that knowledge to your classroom,” explains Berry. “I’ve served in the role as principal and during classroom evaluations I often found myself making notes on the things teachers were doing that I wanted to remember for my own classroom.”
She says 18 virtual sessions will be held throughout the school year each with a veteran teacher as a guest speaker. The speaker and topic of the meeting will be based on the needs of the district’s principals and their new teachers.
Throughout her 27-year career, Berry has credited McNeese with preparing her for success as an educator.
“McNeese provided everything I wanted in a university,” she says. “It was just the right size, I worked on campus in former McNeese President Dr. Robert Hebert’s office and I always felt like my classes truly prepared me for everything throughout my journey to become a teacher.”
Berry also says each Methods of Teaching course provided a foundation to deliver a variety of subjects to students in the classroom.
“Learning best practices from the faculty based off their real-world experience is still making an impact on me as an educator today,” she says. “Using that experience and pairing it with the new ideas I gain everyday have brought me where I am today.”